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Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Guillermo Eleazar has ordered all police units to be on the offensive against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) which allegedly exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to recruit more members and stage attacks.

Eleazar issued the directive following Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr’s observation of heightened recruitment activities and increased attacks by the BIFF amid the pandemic.

“I agree with our Presidential Peace Adviser, Sec. Carlito Galvez, that it is easy now for the BIFF to recruit members because the pandemic has severely affected the livelihood of many people in Mindanao,” Eleazar said.

“Ito ang sinasamantala ng BIFF, ang kagutuman at kawalan ng trabaho ng ilan sa ating mga kababayan,” he added.

Eleazar said that to prevent the BIFF’s recruitment and attacks, the PNP will further enhance its intelligence operations against the group and conduct aggressive police operations.

“Mas paiigtingin pa natin ang presensya ng pulis para hindi na makaporma pa ang grupong ito,” the Chief PNP stressed.

However, Eleazar said that the PNP and the AFP still need the public’s help to successfully stop the BIFF from getting more members.

He explained, “This needs a whole-of-nation approach. Aside from the police and military, other government agencies and stakeholders also have roles to play in preventing recruitment by the BIFF.”

Meanwhile the PNP Chief said he did not believe there was failure of intelligence among state security forces which enabled the BIFF to carry out its activities as both the military and the police have remained vigilant amid the pandemic.

“Kahit naman po may pandemya, nakatutok pa rin ang inyong mga pulis at sundalo sa pagpapanatili ng seguridad sa bawat komunidad, at kasama na dito ‘yung pagmomonitor natin sa pwersa ng kalaban. We have not and cannot let our guards down against these local terror groups,” Eleazar said.

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